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Hundreds evacuated as Texas wildfire rages

Source: Reuters - Mon, 12 May 2014 06:48 GMT
Author: Reuters
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May 12 (Reuters) - Hundreds of residents from the Texas panhandle were forced to flee their homes after a wildfire engulfed homes and threatened hundreds more, authorities said on Monday.

The fire began Sunday afternoon just north of the town of Fritch, forcing roughly 700 people to leave the area, said Danny Richards, emergency management coordinator for Hutchinson County. Richards said preliminary reports suggested that as many as 100 homes had been lost already, and over 1,000 were still threatened.

It was unclear if there had been any injuries or deaths as firefighters were still attempting to access the burned area by early Monday morning, Richards said.

"We've just been in emergency evacuation and emergency firefighting mode," Richards said. "The area where they were evacuated from is still burning."

Approximately 300 firefighters from Fritch and two dozen neighboring counties were battling the blaze, which had been fanned by strong, dry winds earlier in the day and covered over 1,000 acres. As of Monday morning, it was 50 percent contained, Richards said.

He said the fire had affected tightly packed communities of mobile and traditional homes around Lake Meredith, and that the cause had yet to be determined. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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